Notice and wonder: How to turn student data into action

Daniel R. Venables is founder and Executive Director of the Center for Authentic PLCs, a consulting firm that assists schools in building, leading, and sustaining authentic PLCs.

Author of How Teachers Can Turn Data into Action (ASCD, 2014) and The Practice of Authentic PLCs: A Guide to Effective Teacher Teams (Corwin, 2011),  Daniel worked as professional development coordinator for the nation’s 18th largest district, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

What can you get done in 15 minutes?

If you’re like most educators, the answer is a lot.

But how often do those 15 minutes go to email marketing?

…Probably not so often.

What if you had the tools to help you plan, write, design, measure, and grow your email marketing in just 15 minutes at a time?
That would change things a bit, wouldn’t it?

Use the workshop recordings and worksheets below to get your email marketing done faster and more effectively than ever before. Each video features 15 minutes of step-by-step instruction, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A from small business owners.

Within minutes, you’ll have more confidence in what you’re sending, so you can get back to what you do best: running your business.

(Note: This series was originally designed for retail stores, but you can tweak these ideas slightly to fit the needs of your nonprofit or B2B.)

Have a few minutes now? Get started with Part One!


Part 1: Why looking at data is so hard
Data shows us all where all the warts and bumps are.

“As educators we are more likely to make decisions, at least historically, on what we think is going on with our kids. I call that hunches.”

“If we are making instructional decisions based on hunches, the danger is that we’re making decisions based on things that may not actually be true.”

“As educators, we don’t have a history of using data. We’re hunch-driven more than data-driven.”



Part 2: This notice and wonder exercise helps take the stinger out of the data. (11:45)


What people notice and wonder (12:25)

Daniel then digs down to take a closer look at individual items in the data (15:34)

Part 3: Which wonders should you pursue as exploratory questions? (8:04)

Part 4:  Triangulating the data and wrapping up (24:13)

Action plan flow chart

Notice and wonder protocol


Planning protocol

Exploratory questions

Data meetings

How to turn student data into action